Rugby league clubs set to vote on changes to division structures

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THE LONG-RUNNING row over the future of the Super-8s could be decided today.

Clubs and representatives of the community game were meeting to debate plans for a new structure from 2019. A majority of Betfred Super League clubs are calling for the Super-8s to be scrapped and replaced by a one-up, one-down system of automatic relegation and promotion between the top-flight and Championship.

Gary Hetherington

Gary Hetherington

At present there is no automatic promotion or relegation, but the bottom four in Super League after 23 rounds compete with the Championship’s leading quartet over a seven-game series for places in the following season’s elite league.

Leeds Rhinos want the eights format to continue and the proposed change is opposed by lower division clubs including Featherstone, Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams. Some second tier clubs would back one-up, one-down if there was also a play-offs series between Super League’s second-bottom club and teams from the Championship. Each Super League club gets two votes, making a total of 24. There are 24 votes from the 26 Championship and League one clubs – Toronto and Toulouse do not vote – and seven from community arm of the sport. Second and third division clubs will also debate whether the Championship will increase from 12 to 14 teams, with only one relegated from the Championship this year and three promoted, two automatically and one through the play-off.